Middle Earth SBG – The White Council; Now With Extra Wildlife!

Over the last couple of weeks my focus has shifted from Azog’s Legion over to my good force, the White Council. It’s primarily the realisation of what can be done with mounts, not just horses but some of the other fantastic beasts(oops, wrong franchise) certain members of the White Council have access to, but for now we’ll start with the horses…

The first to receive an upgrade are the Gandalf and Elrond, which are also replacing the 2 I had already painted. Back to square one on that then. Both beautiful sculpts, other than the usual finecast troubles. You’ll also see my Glorfindal on Asfaloth conversion, just a simple head and weapon swap but it does the job. I will be adding a couple more details with greenstuff, to add a bit more character. Now all I need to find is a mounted Saruman.

Next up is a certain brown wizard who, due to his affinity with nature and all her beasts, can access some pretty cool options…

His sleigh, which was a lot of fun to build the base for/not a lot of fun to build, and a great eagle from the Misty Mountains. Radagast on eagle does come with a resin version but as you’ll see from the images below it’s not the best kit, so I opted to stick him on one of the plastic versions, which incedentally turned out to be the same sculpt.

I’m really excited to use Radagast and each option he has, as they each add thier own unique flavour to how you use the wizard.

Finally we have an ally coming to the aid of the White Council and his friend Radagast, Beorn and a great eagle…

Part of a bundle I was so happy to find, Beorn wasn’t a planned addition to the force but can easily join them with an allies of White Council and Radagast’s Alliance. They may lose thier army bonuses but I think it’s worth it to have a giant were-bear-man coming along for the party. This is another I’ll be addign some greenstuff to, whilst the bear form looks a lot better in the flesh I’d like to bulk him out a bit more and add a bit more detailing to the fur.

Not much left to do but fill some gaps before I can finally get a lick of paint on these guys!

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A Year in Pictures 2018

Well it’s been a long year and I have been spotty at best with keeping up with this, hence the delay in getting it out there.

I set out to keep track of how many models I paint in a year, not with a specific goal in mind or as a figure to beat, but to just have a look at the numbers. So without further ado my painted figure count for 2018 was…

175

Not a bad number to be honest, but this year I think I’ll break it down even more. I want to look at how many figures I paint for each game that comes my way, board game, tabletop, or anything else that may happen. This is one ofthe things I’ll be adding to my painting goals for the year, which I’ll talk about soon.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s the 175 models I painted this year…

Middle Earth SBG – The March of the Ents Begins!

A friend has chosen the mighty Ents of Fangorn for his good army and I’ve been tasked with painting them up! So far it looks like a great oppertunity to flex my painting muscles with lot’s of variety, both painting and model wise, coming along with the job.

Since there’s a fairly limited range in place for the Middle Earth Ent model range, he’s chosen to pick up a few from the Warhammer range. It’s these two Wood Elf Treemen that I’ll be starting with. One which is almost finished…

And one who I’m just getting started on…

They look just the part for Middle Earth and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this project.

Middle Earth SBG – A Misadventure with Recasts!

This post is all about a recent encounter with some recast Forge World miniatures, but also to serve as a bit of a warning to those looking to pick up cheaper figures and what to look for to spot a fake.

I’ve worked with a lot of Forge World over the years, regularly shopping with them when I was playing 40k and now that I’ve jumped back into LOTR. Their quality has been nothing but excellent and my more recent purchases have done nothing but reaffirm this. My Azog’s Legion models have been some of the best quality models I’ve worked with. I truly believe that the price tag attached is worth the quality product you receive.

Which leads us onto recasts. There’s 2 primary reasons I will never work on a recast model.

  1. The quality is generally sub par
  2. It does nothing to support the hobby

Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.

I managed to take a few images of the miniatures, mainly so the buyer could tackle the situation with the seller, and these show just how bad the quality is and some of the tell tale signs of a recast.

On the whole they may look very similar to the FW casts but the detail is considerably lacking, small details being particularly affected. There’s also always a slight texture to the surfaces that you don’t find on FW minis.

As pointed out by some readers it is important to note that these are not always clear indicators of a recast. Resin does vary wildly in colour and casting issues can be experienced, even when buying from Forge World.

Here’s some things to look out for to spot illegitimate products…

  • Colour Variation. FW resin tends to be quite light, where as most recasts will tend to be dark. This is not always the case.
  • Weight and texture. After working with FW resin for a while you’ll gain a feel for it’s weight and texture. Recasts will always feel ‘off’, especially the texture. This is quite hard to describe and I think it’s only because I’ve experienced low quality resin recasts. The quality difference makes it very obvious, but with a better quality recast these issues may not be apparent.
  • Paperwork. FW products now either come in a clamshell, or a box with a certificate. These are both clear signs it’s a legitimate product.

As stated above these are in no way sure fire ways of detecting a recast and the most assured way to receive the genuine product is to buy direct from the maker. Be they Forge World or any of the many smaller studios.

That’s enough to put me off recasts, but I realise others may not be too concerned with the quality of the miniature as they would just like to get the monster on the table. This leads on to my second point, recasts do not support the hobby, they damage it.

Recasters sit outside the hobby, taking but not giving back. By hobby I mean everything, from the original artists who drew up the concepts, to the sculpter, to the casters, to the painters, to the studio staff who work on images and packaging, through to shops (FLGS’s and others), right through to us, the consumers and anyone else inbetween who helps these great products to be released. None of those involved get any credit from a purchase made from a recaster. In fact an inferior product is released into the wild and can mislead others as to what to expect from something legitamate.

A common argument used to justify using recasters is that a company like Games Workshop can afford it, they have been doing very well recently, and for the most part you would be right, they can. But it will still have a domino effect on those involved in the process and at the end of the day, theft is still theft no matter how much money the victim has.

This doesn’t even touch upon what this can do to small businesses, who cannot afford to lose sales to recasters. They can have a product lines sales decimated, with no real way to tackle the issue. This can and will put artists and small studios out of business.

Another argument is the price, which I have already touched upon. You are buying a cheaper product but you are also buying an inferior product. Forge World are one of the best miniature producers in the world so why buy a cheap knock off when you can have the real thing. It’s also worth noting that you get a hell of a lot of after care with Forge World, top notch customer service will sort any issues you have. Issues with a recast? You may be in with a fight to sort anything out.

I do understand why some people will choose to go down the recast route, I just know it’s not right by my standards and I will not support it. It does nothing to grow or even support the hobby and at the end of the day that’s what we all want, a great hobby that grows and expands, stays fresh and exciting. So buy legit, don’t buy recast.

Middle Earth SBG – Monsters of Gundabad

They’ve finally arrived! Azog’s Legion is receiving an epic reinforcement in the form of several hulking beasts, the Trolls and Ogres of Gundabad…

That’s most of what I need for the Legion sorted and already having got in a few games I can confirm 2 things. They are pretty good at smashing things and they don’t get along well with ents! My first game with them they got smashed immediately by some of the woody bastards!

Next up was some new ogres. I enthusiastically stuck these together before thinking about the fact I may want to change them a bit, but after a few hours and some green stuff I ended up with these…

I’m really pleased with how they turned out, especially the skulls, and I think it adds a great amount of character to them. It does mean they don’t link all that well to the ones I’ve got, so I’m going to add some tattoos to all of them in the end.

As you can imagine this amount of monstrous reinforcement pleases me greatly and I can’t wait to get stuck in with these and the Dol Guldur!

As you can imagine I’m really stoked to get painting these. Not only are they massive but the detail is incredible!

Middle Earth SBG – Reinforcing the White Council!

Gandalf and Elrond were in dire need of some help and it wasn’t difficult to muster up a few friends for them…

The first of which is the Lady Galadriel herself. Mustering up a respectable profile, she provides a great deal of support. Helping to stop incoming shots as well as offering some help with resisting magic for those needing to get stuck in.

She seems like an easy paint, but I want to keep her fairly dark using her hand as the light source of the model.

Following on from such a powerful sorcerer, is the second Lord of the West to make it into the list, Glorfindal. A combat beast, with impressive defences to match, he’ll make mincemeat of the opposition.

This one’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. It will be my very first time tackling that beautiful elvin armour.

That’s the reinforcements for now, just awaiting availability on a certain brown wizard and to find the right model for a certain white. Once they’re in there I’ll have the White Council properly ready for battle!

Middle Earth SBG – What’s Next for Azog’s Legion?

I want to look into expanding my Azog’s Legion army by the way of allies. With ‘Master of Battle’ being such a strong addition to Azog I knew I needed to look at green allies. That kind of thematic link being something I look for in a force anyway. That meant Azog’s Hunters or the Dark Powers of Dol Guldur.

If you’ve been reading my recent Middle Earth SBG posts you’ll know I have a history with Dol Guldur and it didn’t take me long to look in their direction, especially with those tasty Nazgul models. This was my nine from around 8 years ago, no longer with me unfortunately…

So the first port of call was a few of the Nine to start them off. After looking through the profiles and what came in each pack I settled on this lot…

The Slayer of Men was on the radar straight away. +1 to wound is always a great boon, especially on someone I wanted leading some troops. The Dark Headsman made the cut partly because of the awesome sculpt, but a nice special rule for that chance of killing a juicy target helped too. With the Witch King coming along too, I was sold. +1 Might is another no brainer over some of the other rules the Nine offer and for the captain like purpose I would like to use them for.

You’ll notice the Witchking is missing his sword, just awaiting a peice so I can do a small conversion on him.

With some ‘captains’ to lead some Dol Guldur warbands I also wanted some unique units to go with them. Whilst I could easily throw in some Gundabad Orcs, an advantage that makes this list a natural ally, I wanted something I couldn’t get anywhere else. This inevitabally led me down a nostalgia path once again…

That’s right, Spiders. Alongside my Necromancer force I used to collect a force of giant spiders led by the Spiderqueen. I said I didn’t want to repeat my past armies, but here we are.

These should give me a nice wee boost in choices and offer some different tactical options. I’ll take a look at that once I’ve had a few games with them.

Nxt up will be some more reinforcements for Azog’s Legion, not allies, but some of the big guys!